Scrum for School Inquiry Projects (Part 3)

This trimester I’m guiding my middle schooler in using Scrum techniques to complete an independent research project and presentation. We are now a few weeks into the trimester and the project is starting to take shape.

He started with the general topic of colonizing Mars then used user stories to define the lenses needed to get a more in-depth understanding of the topic.

User Stories:

A rocket scientist who needs to understand what the stresses and timeline will be for the trip so they can engineer the ship correctly.

A doctor who needs to understand how space travel and the environment on Mars may affect the physical and mental health of the settlers so they can ensure the settlers stay healthy.

An explorer who needs to know as much as possible about the planet  so they can locate the settlement for optimal success in terms of both the elements and the exploration potential.

The user stories are making the research needed less abstract and helping the inquiry come alive for my student. He has decided to make it even more realistic by presenting his findings as an infomercial, selling Mars colonization trips. At the end of each sprint his shippable product is a mini video advertisement, highlighting the research he completed during that sprint.

Overall, the Scrum methodology is helping him stay focused and moving forward. We are using both a wall of Post-it Notes in Kanban board layout at home to track workflow and a daily planner to help him remember work block tasks when he is at school.

The biggest takeaway from the last 2 weeks is that Daily Scrums are essential. The days I was too busy to ask the three essential questions were the days he made little to no progress. As his scrum master it is on me to ask: What did you get done yesterday? What are you planning on getting done today? What is blocking you?